Call of the Wild Conference 2019

November 15-17, 2019


Friday, November 15

Veterinary Training Course

This five-hour session at the Wildlife Center is for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary assistants and will be taught by the Center’s veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians. The training will address specific skills needed for triaging wild animals, including handling/restraint, radiographs, ophthalmic examinations, and avian bandaging. Discussion will include triage decision-making in common wildlife scenarios and reporting of wildlife to appropriate agencies and governing bodies. Attendees will also tour the Wildlife Center and see the diagnostic equipment used in daily treatments.  Please note your position and name of your clinic on the registration form -- those who are not veterinarians, veterinary technicians, or veterinary assistants (or students in those official programs) do not qualify for this training. **
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Boxed lunch included. 

Bat Rehabilitation Workshop

This all-day session will be led by Leslie Sturges of The Save Lucy Campaign and is for anyone interested in learning more about bat rehabilitation. Training will include the principles of wildlife rehabilitation; natural history of North American bats, including identification; intake and assessment information, focusing on feeding techniques, hydration, and pain management; appropriate housing; diseases, including an update on White Nose Syndrome; and a diagnostic lab with carcass handling practice for those with proof of rabies vaccination. The workshop is worth six (6) continuing education credits. 
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Boxed lunch included. 

Wildlife Care Academy REHAB classes

8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.: NHx 321: Natural History Considerations for Raptor Rehabilitation
Natural history considerations influence all aspects of wildlife care.  This class will provide a fundamental understanding of the natural history considerations for the rehabilitation of raptors by exploring foundational information regarding the diversity of natural history among these species.  Topics discussed include identification, anatomy, diet, reproduction and nesting, seasonality of rehabilitation concerns, and more!  This class covers several of the most common raptor species admitted to rehabilitators in Virginia and provides an outline for establishing a natural history based rehabilitation plan for any species.

10:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.:  ARI 321: Raptor Assessment, Rescue, and Intake
Rehabilitators encounter unique and challenging wildlife rescue scenarios. This class will train participants to assess wild raptors, plan rescue attempts, and establish thorough patient intake protocols.  Topics discussed include common circumstances of admission, tools for evaluating wildlife concerns by phone or email, practical rescue, handling, transport techniques, patient intake, information gathering, physical exam considerations, decision making, and more! 

1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.: REHAB 321: Raptor Rehabilitation
This class covers basic rehabilitation principles for recovering injured and orphaned raptors with the goal of releasing them back into the environment as healthy wild individuals.  Discussion will focus on the rehabilitation of several species of birds of prey frequently seen in rehabilitation.  Discover the importance of natural history, general care, proper nutrition, hand-feeding techniques, housing, flight conditioning, live prey testing, and much more that you need to know to successfully rehabilitate raptors for release. 

Wildlife Care Academy MGT Classes

8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.:  MGT 212: Your True Cost of Doing Business  
When an organization is asked about the size of its operations in financial terms, the typical answer is the amount of cash expended in a year’s time, which almost always underestimates the actual costs and the true value of the organization’s programs and services.  This class will help organizations accurately determine the actual value of their work, which can be critical for public relations, fundraising, and truly understanding the benefits your organization delivers to its community.  You will be surprised!

10:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.: MGT 205: Building your Case for Support
All organizations need money to operate, but some seem to be more successful in getting it.  Typically it is because the most successful organizations have done a better job of showing that they deserve support, will use it wisely, and will actually make a difference with the support they receive.  This class will walk you through the steps in building your case for support.

1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.: MGT 207: Volunteers Don’t Do It For Free! – Volunteerism is an Exchange of Value
Volunteers are NOT slave labor, and cannot be treated as such. When someone volunteers for an organization, especially wildlife care programs, they expect to receive something in return … just not money. Volunteer compensation may include the opportunity to learn and do new things, to contribute to the community, to make a real difference for wildlife, or to use specific skills and education to advance a personal mission. In addition, all volunteers deserve to earn and be given respect, courtesy, an enjoyable work environment, and the opportunity to grow and advance in their positions. This class will provide a look at volunteerism from the volunteers’ point of view and will provide many tangible and practical ideas for recruiting, cultivating and retaining an effective volunteer workforce.


Saturday, November 16

8:30 am - 8:45 am – Welcome

Session 1 – 8:45 am - 9:45 am 

A. Common Ground: Wildlife Rehabilitation & the Regulators [60 mins]**
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) administers the permitting and regulatory processes involved with wildlife rehabilitation in Virginia. While there are many laws and permit conditions that must be followed by rehabilitators, the "why" is often lost in translation over time.  Wildlife rehabilitators and natural resource agencies share common goals in their relationship; however, this relationship can become strained when regulation and compliance are perceived to impact the rehabilitation process and the people behind it.  DGIF staff appreciates the opportunity to talk about the relationship between wildlife enthusiasts and those responsible for managing wildlife populations in order to Conserve, Connect, and Protect.
Aaron Proctor, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Randy Francis, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Session 2 – 9:55 am - 10:55 am 

A. Principles of Wound Care and Bandaging Lecture [60 mins] **
Wildlife patients commonly have wounds or fractures that require bandaging. In this lecture, learn how to classify and treat different kinds of wounds found on bird, mammal, and reptile patients. Learn basic bandages that can be used for wounds, as well as bandages used to stabilize fractures (for short-term stabilization, and for long-term treatment). This lecture is open to all attendees; it is required for anyone taking one of the afternoon hands-on workshops. 
Karra Pierce, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia

B. Observation: First Look at an Old Problem [60 mins]
In comes the animal, and we begin with feeding, housing, and healing. But did we overlook a crucial step – careful observation of our newest client?  This lecture emphasizes a too-often overlooked opportunity to observe critically. Taking time to look at movement, eye contact, reactions, and eating habits can yield invaluable information to the care which follows. This interactive discussion is based primarily on urban wildlife, including opossums, squirrels, bunnies, songbirds, and turtles. While intended for beginning rehabilitators, it offers suggestions/reminders to more advanced practitioners as well.
Linda Ostrand, Our Wild Neighbors, NC

Session 3 – 11:05 am - 11:35 am

A. Current Treatment Methods Utilized for Burn Wound Care in Wildlife Rehabilitation Medicine [30 mins] **
After seeing the effects of the California wildfires of 2017, Dr. Claire Butkus wanted to find a way to improve the way we are treating burned wildlife. In collaboration with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the IWRC, Dr. Butkus performed a survey to assess the types of burns, treatment of burns, and survival of burned wildlife presenting to wildlife rehabilitation centers nationally and internationally. She then compared these treatment methods to current recommendations for burn care in human medicine. In this lecture, discussion includes the new recommendations for burn wound care and the ways rehabilitators can tailor treatment methods to improve survival and welfare of affected animals.
Claire Butkus, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia

B. Get Involved with Wildlife Rehabilitation in Virginia [30 mins]  
Interested in rehabilitating wildlife, but not sure where to start?  Discover ways to get involved, including how to become a permitted wildlife rehabilitator in Virginia. Discussion includes wildlife laws, the rehabilitator’s code of ethics, and considerations on becoming a wildlife rehabilitator. While the specific laws and wildlife examples are from Virginia, the information is applicable to anyone interested in wildlife!
Maggie McCartney, Wildlife Center of Virginia

Session 4 – 11:45 am - 12:15 pm

A. Effects of Drying & Storage Methods on Nutritional Content of Acorn Masts [30 mins] **
Acorns (Quercus sp.) are an important staple in the diet of more than 90 species of wildlife (Martin et al. 1961) including black bears (Ursus americanus), deer (Odocoileus sp.), squirrels (Sciurus sp.) and ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus).  In the autumn months, animals will consume oak masts as a high energy, highly digestible food source in their preparation for winter (Martin et al. 1961, Kirkpatrick and Pekins 2002).  Typically in captive situations, caretakers source foods from local grocery stores and gardens.  While convenient, wild animals, particularly those in stressful captive situations, need food items that will simulate wild forage closely (Dierenfeld 1997).  However, oak mast production is not reliable from year to year (Koenig and Knops 2002) and production among trees can vary within a year, making it difficult for rehabilitation facilities to keep acorns on hand.  We tested the effects of drying and storage on the fat content of white oak (Q. alba) acorns and hypothesized that freezing samples would maintain the most fat over time.  In this talk, Dr. Johnstone-Yellin will discuss aspects of wildlife nutrition and give recommendations for storing acorns based on her research thus far. 
Tamara L. Johnstone-Yellin, MS, PhD, Bridgewater College 

B. A Novel Babesia in the Virginia Opossum [30 mins] **
A novel Babesia species, presenting in virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) at the South Florida Wildlife Center (SWFC), was discovered in three out of 10 samples submitted for PCR [polymerase chain reaction] evaluation. The piroplasm was initially detected in blood smears of the first patient. Of the three affected patients, none survived. Two presented with severe, unresponsive anemia, and the third with icterus and hematuria. Little is known about this particular disease in opossums, although Babesia and other piroplasmids have been detected in various marsupials. Babesia is usually considered to cause subclinical disease in wildlife, so the mortality these particular patients suffered is significant. The pathophysiology and diagnosis of Babesia is discussed, as well as proposed treatments. Given that opossums live in proximity with humans and domestic pets, veterinarians at the SFWC believe that the study of vector-borne disease in the species has merit and are working on a wider characterization of the novel hemoparasite.
Antonia Gardner, DVM, South Florida Wildlife Center

LUNCH & NETWORKING – 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm

Session 5 – 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

A. Developing a Raptor Re-nesting Program [60 mins]
This session discusses the importance of re-nesting raptors. Learn the proper strategies and techniques to reunite nestlings with their parents.       
Carly Smith Ouzts, Carolina Raptor Center, NC

B. Monsters Inside (and Outside) Me: What's the Risk of Getting Parasites from Wildlife? [60 mins] **
Several parasitic organisms infecting common wildlife species can also infect humans.  It’s important for those working with wildlife to understand the practical risks of exposure to organisms like Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Baylisascaris.  In some cases, new information is changing our understanding of infection risks.  The recent identification of a dog infected with Echinococcus multilocularis in Virginia may add an important name to the list of zoonotic parasites of wildlife in the mid-Atlantic region. 
Anne Zajac, DVM, PhD, VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine

C. Principles of Wound Care and Bandaging Workshop #1 [90 mins] **
In this hands-on workshop, cadavers are used to learn the bandaging techniques and wound management skills discussed in the morning lecture. Practice is the key to success for bandaging, and this workshop will provide a practical opportunity to learn and perfect your bandaging skills with the guidance of experienced practitioners. Bird, mammal, and reptile cadavers are provided, though the emphasis will be on bird patients.  Those attending the workshop must attend the morning bandaging lecture. Space is limited. There is a $10 additional workshop fee.           
Karra Pierce, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia

Session 6 – 2:40 pm - 3:40 pm

A. The Safety & Efficacy of Meloxicam in Avian Species – and Why Extrapolation Doesn’t Always Work! [60 mins] **
Meloxicam is the safest and most widely used NSAID [Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug] in avian medicine. A variety of pharmacokinetic and safety studies have been performed in select avian species. However, these studies often vary in design and scope. Wildlife rehabilitators deal with a huge variety of avian species, many of which have limited to no pharmacological studies for any drugs routinely used. At the South Florida Wildlife Center, veterinarians diagnosed eight cases of renal disease in brown pelicans that died acutely after meloxicam was used at higher doses. Concurrently, another study revealed that this species has an extremely low clearance of this particular drug, and is therefore extremely sensitive to toxicity if the drug is overused. An overview of current pharmacological studies of meloxicam in avian species is discussed, as well as the mechanisms of action and toxicity. Recommendations are also provided for using the drug in species for which no pharmacological data is available.
Antonia Gardner, DVM, South Florida Wildlife Center

B. How Much Wood WOULD a Woodchuck Chuck, Anyway? [60 mins]
Are you interested in raising orphan woodchuck (groundhog) babies? This lecture includes tips and tricks, caging, releases, and a few other tidbits to get you thinking about adding these engaging and intelligent animals to your slate of rehab critters.             
Lynn Oliver, Valley Wildlife Care, Inc., VA

Session 7 – 3:50 pm - 4:50 pm

A. Drowning in Empathy: Fighting Compassion Fatigue by Building Resiliency [60 mins] **
 Wildlife rehabilitation can be as draining as it is fulfilling. Funding limitations, difficult cases, and "caring too much" can leave one feeling discouraged, guilty, or empty. We are all at risk for compassion fatigue and burn out, yet self-care is continually set aside to prioritize the animals in our care. Building resiliency, setting boundaries, and knowing how and when to mentally reset are just as important to a successful wildlife center as the animals and care they receive. Wellness is important for all of us - wildlife and their caretakers alike. Strategies on defining self-care in a wildlife center are discussed.
Sam Sander, DVM, Dipl. ACZM, University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine

B. Using Wild Foods in Your Herbivore Practice Roundtable [10/7: This roundtable is now full]
Why are wild foods critical for the rehabilitation of herbivore patients? How does one find dedicated plant foragers (a salad army!) that will help you forage for wild foods? What are your practice’s unique challenges when trying to increase or incorporate natural diets? This roundtable discussion focuses on these questions, and more. Discussion includes a patient’s natural history and allowing the nutritional and environmental needs of the species to guide the selection of wild food choices. Locating untapped foraging resources and touching on plant identification helps demystify the intimidating “wall of green” and encourages participants to develop a doable natural diet program for their patients. Participants have an opportunity to share and brainstorm their unique (or maybe not so unique) situations and experiences with other wildlife rehabilitators. Space is limited to create a true roundtable discussion!
Kate Guenther, Wild Foods 4 Wildlife, VA
Linda McDaniel, Augusta Cottontails, VA

C. Principles of Wound Care and Bandaging Workshop #2 [90 mins] *Starts at 3:30 p.m. ** [10/30: This workshop is now full] 
Note: this is the same as workhop #1; it's simply repeated to train more participants! In this hands-on workshop, cadavers are used to learn the bandaging techniques and wound management skills discussed in the morning lecture. Practice is the key to success for bandaging, and this workshop will provide a practical opportunity to learn and perfect your bandaging skills with the guidance of experienced practitioners. Bird, mammal, and reptile cadavers are provided, though the emphasis will be on bird patients.  Those attending the workshop must attend the morning bandaging lecture. Space is limited. There is a $10 additional workshop fee.
Karra Pierce, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia

Sunday, November 17

7:30 am - 8:00 am – Check-in and pick up registration materials

Session 1 – 8:00 am - 9:00 am 

A. Making Wildlife Education More Impactful [60 mins]
As wildlife educators, we can make a greater impact with a more hands-on approach during programs. Learn what all this means, how to design activities to meet state standards for each age group, and ideas to create memorable experiences. 
Debbie Sykes, Nashville Wildlife Conservation Center, TN

B. All About Feathers Lecture [60 mins] 
Feathers are vital to survival of birds. Issues like insufficient waterproofing, contamination, and feather damage are frequently observed by the rehab community and poor feather condition can delay the release of an otherwise healthy bird. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true methods that address these concerns before they become long-term problems. This presentation will cover feather structure, decontamination, and damage prevention. Attendees will learn techniques for removing contaminants and restoring waterproofing, protecting flight feathers on raptors, and straightening bent feathers. This lecture is open to all attendees; it is required for anyone taking one of the hands-on workshops. 
Meagan Demeter, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, DE

Session 2 – 9:10 am - 10:10 am 

A. Truths & Myths about Alternative Medicine [60 mins] **
This lecture highlights the definition of alternative medicine, its uses in wildlife, how it is regulated in veterinary practice, and the facts and misconceptions of alternative medicine from a scientific point of view. Discussion includes when alternative medicine is beneficial, but also when it can be harmful, and when, in some cases, simple things like a “harmless” herbal or homeopathic remedy can have negative consequences for the patient or for the practitioner.    
Ernesto Dominguez, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia

B. All About Feathers Workshop #1 [60 mins] *This workshop is now full 
Participants will learn and practice how to remove a bird from a sticky trap and how to perform a feather test wash prior to setting up a wash. Those attending the workshop must attend the morning feather lecture. Space is limited. There is a $10 additional workshop fee.
Meagan Demeter, Andrea Howey, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, DE

Session 3 – 10:25 am 

A. Non-releasable Wildlife: Placement Considerations Roundtable [120 mins, until 12:25 pm] **
What happens if a patient is non-releasable? What considerations need to be made  to place an animal at an educational facility? This roundtable will include a discussion on how we can make good choices for our patients before they spend a lifetime in captivity. After all, selecting appropriate candidates for education ambassadors is an important – and sometimes overlooked – step in successful programming. Discussion includes permit conditions, legal guidelines on potential ambassadors, medical considerations, and behavioral assessments, and emphasizes animal welfare and current best practices. Discussion will also include making end-of-life decisions for education ambassadors.
Karra Pierce, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia
Amanda Nicholson, Wildlife Center of Virginia
Debbie Sykes, Nashville Wildlife Conservation Center, TN

B. All About Feathers Workshop #2 [60 mins] *This workshop is now full 
Note: this is the same as workhop #1; it's simply repeated to train more participants! Participants will learn and practice how to remove a bird from a sticky trap and how to perform a feather test wash prior to setting up a wash. Those attending the workshop must attend the morning feather lecture. Space is limited. There is a $10 additional workshop fee.
Meagan Demeter, Andrea Howey, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, DE

C. Bringing Research to the Classroom: Case Study on Lead toxicity in Raptors (AKA, Creating Excitement in Education by Fusing Collaboration, Relevance & Dynamic Participation) [60 mins]
We do a great job of inundating our students with a deluge of information and factoids, all the while trapped within the boundaries of our classrooms.  “Authentic Learning” involves educating beyond these cinderblock confines. Authentic Learning relies upon a diverse collection of experiential learning strategies and persons to enhance dialogue and research centered on current issues affecting ourselves, our nation, and our world. A current example, “Lead Toxicity and Its Risk to Avian Wildlife through Fragmentation”, will be shared during this lecture.
Myron Blosser, Harrisonburg City Schools, Governor’s STEM Academy, VA

Session 4 – 11:35 am - 12:05 pm 

A. Basic Bloodwork: A Snapshot in Time [30 mins] **
Basic blood work is an essential part of every comprehensive diagnostic work-up. For wildlife rehabilitation, this diagnostic tool can sometimes be a luxury if you do not have the equipment or professional staff to run in-house diagnostics. However, some simple tests that can be done easily and inexpensively can yield a surprisingly helpful amount of information about your patient and help you to create a better care plan as that animal moves through the rehabilitation process. This presentation details some of the most common hematological tests that are conducted at the Wildlife Center, the species on which the tests are run, and how those results ultimately impact their care.
Jess Dyer, LVT, Wildlife Center of Virginia
Rayshaud Holloway, LVT, Wildlife Center of Virginia

Session 5 – 12:10 pm - 12:40 pm 

B. Home Sweet Home: Building Outdoor Hutches for Captive Virginia Opossums
Suitable housing is an essential aspect of caring for captive Virginia Opossums, but resources and instructions for building outdoor hutches are often difficult to find. This presentation illustrates how to construct a durable, easy to clean, weather-proof hutch using materials found at nearly any big-box retailer. Handouts will include materials lists and step-by-step instructions.  
Alex Wehrung, Wildlife Center of Virginia             

LUNCH & NETWORKING – 12:40 pm - 1:45 pm 

Session 6 – 1:50 pm - 2:50 pm 

A. Because It's Not Always "Trauma" [60 mins]  **                                                    
In this lecture, we will cover common bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic diseases of concern in native Virginian wildlife – diseases such as avian pox, canine distemper, snake fungal disease, mange, and more! We'll go over the species typically affected by such diseases, common clinical signs, treatment options, etc.  We'll also discuss quarantine protocols and how to disinfect equipment, caging, etc. that may have been contaminated by infected patients.
Peach Van Wick, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia

B. Amphibian and Reptile Husbandry [60 mins]
Herptile species -- amphibians and reptiles – require extremely specific care in a rehabilitation setting.  Maintenance of these patients, especially long-term care, can prove incredibly difficult.  This presentation will go over the proper care of amphibians and reptiles, including specific diet and habitat requirements, to ensure successful release following rehabilitation.               
Kelsey Pleasants, Wildlife Center of Virginia

Session 7 – 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

A. Flocking Together: Forging Relationships [60 mins]
This session is a brief examination of how forging relationships with a variety of nontraditional partners can promote rehabilitation, protect public health, and stretch limited resources. A lecture is followed by an open discussion to trade ideas and work together. Come share your success stories!
Leslie Sturges, The Save Lucy Campaign


Continuing Education Credits

The Call of the Wild conference offers CE opportunities to permitted wildlife rehabilitators; these hours qualify for obtaining or renewing a wildlife rehabilitation permit. Each day of the conference is worth up to six hours of CE, depending on classes selected. Certificates of attendance are emailed in the weeks following the conference. 

All classes are eligible for animal control officer continuing education credits and have been approved through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

** = These classes are eligible for continuing education hours for licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians in Virginia based on 18VAC150-20-70, item 2.h. The Call of the Wild conference is co-sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. A total of five hours are available Friday, six hours are available Saturday, and four hours are available Sunday.